April 26, 2019

Books

"In 2018, for the second year in a row, American publishers released fewer translated titles: 609 books were published, down from 650 in 2017 and the industry high in 2016 of 666."

"This is the real problem, and danger, of satire: not that it mocks and belittles respect-worthy pieties, not that it “punches down,” but that it has become impossible to separate it cleanly from the toxic disinformation that defines our era."

"With his last book, The Flame, Cohen blows out the candle on a career that has been long, wavering, intermittently brilliant. Despite publishing around a dozen poetry collections and two novels, he was never able to commit to words without music."

"The American philosophy professor John Kaag tries a different tack, aiming to use Nietzsche as a kind of elevated self-help guru, scattering discussions of the philosopher’s life and works through a memoir of the author’s own..."

"As reference books go, the thesaurus, these days, is one step up in respectability from the rhyming dictionary. To use one is to betray something embarrassing about yourself."

"...a conductor’s preparation of a work through score-study, listening and rehearsal is more important than the actual waving of the arms in performance."

"Poems now are almost exclusively concerned with the feelings of a speaker who appears to be, at most, a slightly distanced version of the poet."

"When you see a brand mentioned in a novel, it mostly isn’t because the company paid for the privilege. Tiffany’s did not sponsor Breakfast at Tiffany’s."

"When I first read Virginia Woolf’s dictum that “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction,” I was homeless."

"In “Martin Buber: A Life of Faith and Dissent,” Paul Mendes-Flohr, a professor emeritus at the University of Chicago and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, traces the historical path that led Buber from Europe to Israel..."

"Blue was once little-known in the Western palette. Homer’s sea was “wine dark”; blue would not be used as water’s color until the seventeenth century."

"The heyday of modern architecture in mid-century Europe and the United States, when angular and spare structures of glass and steel became popular, was a time when famous architects wielded their powers and egos particularly recklessly."

"...if every book were a masterpiece, no book would be a masterpiece and we could not know a masterpiece when we read it. They also serve who only sit and write trash. To know the good, we have to know the bad. "

"The extraordinary coincidence of Donald Trump and Jussie Smollett both being “cleared” of significant “crimes” last week provides a remarkable vantage point for asking “What if everything you know is fake?”"

"Zionism was not always a dirty word for leftists. Communists and socialists alike supported the creation of Israel in 1948, denouncing the neofeudal Arab regimes that tried to destroy the new Jewish state."

"A Republican representative described Adolf Hitler as a socialist and compared Democrats to Nazis. Sadly, Rep. Brooks is far from alone in his opinions."

"As America waits with bated breath to find out if the Department of Justice plans to release the Mueller report, publishers are feeling a special urgency. Three publishing houses have already announced plans to publish the report in book form..."

"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"

"Apartment Therapy posted a photo to Instagram of a bookshelf with the spines facing inward, and the dramatic response — dozens of users denouncing the trend as anti-intellectual, even comparing it to book-burning ..."

"“Age only matters while one is ageing”, said Picasso, at the age of eighty. “Now that I have arrived at a great age, I might as well be twenty.” Well, bully for him."

"Lost in migration: When Walter Benjamin fled France in 1940, he took a heavy black suitcase. Did it contain a typescript? Where is it now?"

"Was the British Empire boring? As Jeffrey Auerbach notes in his irreverent new book, it’s an unexpected question, largely because imperial culture was so conspicuously saturated with a sense of adventure."

" I’ve just finished Vicky Ward’s “Kushner, Inc.,” a scintillating investigation of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s White House sojourn, which comes out on Tuesday."

"Many modern translators tend to soften the strangeness of the Hebrew Bible, but Robert Alter embraces it. It’s the strangeness that gives the original much of its power."

"If Plato was a philosopher who wanted to use his ideas to change the world in practical ways, but had to settle for a towering intellectual legacy instead, then Marx’s writing had the opposite effect."

"We called “Sister Carrie” a book “one can get along very well without reading,” dismissed “Lolita” as “dull, dull, dull,” and had nothing nice to say about “Howards End.”"

"So the lives of humans and of other animals are very different. But does that mean that human lives are more important or more valuable than the lives of animals?"

"He began to study it, he turned to philosophers like Saadia Gaon and Maimonides. But it was in kabbalistic thought that he found a symmetry between Judaism and science."

"Often described as “Instapoets”, there are several writers sharing short fragments online to enormous followings. The biggest of these audiences belongs to 26-year-old Rupi Kaur..."

"Sensitivity readers (other, better terms include “expert readers” and “authenticity readers”) are representatives of an oft-marginalized group who try to ensure that the portrayal of the group is not dimwitted."

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"After five years of war with the Islamic State, the biggest problem for the winners is coping with the losers. The aftermath has produced one of the world’s most perplexing postwar challenges..."

"What do we mean when we say that the “soul of the city” is under threat? Often, it’s really about politics, nostalgia, and the fear of community change."

"...the pendulum of history never stops moving. Indeed, one of the few constants of history is unceasing change. While we seem to be heading in one direction, we must remember that there will surely be pauses, turns, and reversals."

""Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé," premiered early Wednesday and it was the fulfillment of all the ancestors' hopes and dreams. Beyoncé also dropped "Homecoming: The Live Album.""

"Seven in 10 adults ages 18 to 34 received financial support from their parents in the last year, including more than half of those in their early 30s. Almost three in five millennials said they couldn’t afford their lifestyles without the support."

"Social media influencers have helped turn public lands into tourist-infested swamps. And one cantankerous man is fighting back."

"One particular myth that attached itself to Ledger was that his death was somehow a result of immersing himself in the character of the Joker."

"In 2018, for the second year in a row, American publishers released fewer translated titles: 609 books were published, down from 650 in 2017 and the industry high in 2016 of 666."

"Egg freezing had become so routine among my single peers that when I hit 35, I never thought twice. Here’s what I wish I had known."

"When it comes to Passover cuisine, most home cooks know to avoid wheat, oats, rye, and other forbidden ingredients. But what consumers might not realize is just how much cotton they eat during the holiday."

"A masked figure looms over your recumbent body, wielding power tools and sharp metal instruments, doing things to your mouth you cannot see."

"Passover is a holiday that commemorates the Jewish people escaping slavery in Egypt. It is often referred to as the “festival of freedom.” My Passover in prison was at a place called the Wallkill Correctional Facility..."